Attachment is an interesting thing…

In the pursuit of furthering my purpose in the space of physical and mental wellbeing, I am 2.5 subjects away from completing my Grad Dip in Counselling. The .5 subject is Grief and Loss which is currently focussed on Attachment Theory. If you’ve never come across it, it pertains to how we humans interact with a ‘secure base’.  This may be a care giver as a child, a significant other as an adult, or even a workplace. There are four styles: Secure, Anxious Ambivalent, Anxious Avoidant, and Disorganised.

Why is this relevant?
Knowing your attachment style is an interesting piece of information. Understanding and taking the time to see how it plays out in your work and home life can be quite insightful. What is there to gain from understanding or being aware of this?

You can identify your Attachment Style characteristics.  

Relationships of all forms can be impacted by attachment style even the interaction to the workplace entity, outside of individual relationships with colleagues. We don’t often think about it, yet when people experience the loss of a role, job or separation from an employer, there can be a strong emotional response. Having previously worked with long tail insurance claims, the emotional component played out as perceived ‘rejection’ and left a residual bitterness many years after their last day of work. This often created an additional barrier to moving forward in their life.  It was quite evident it impacted their own feelings of self-efficacy and self confidence across their whole life. Understanding how your attachment style patterns play out can assist in providing your own self-support in periods of unrest.

The emotional rollercoaster wont last as long if you know your patterns.  How they shift between different approaches pending the circumstances is also important.  Meaning, you can do something about it. If you’re aware your background is an ‘anxious style’  that leads to distancing yourself or becoming overly attached in times of stress, having tools in your arsenal to bring you back to a ‘secure’ perspective can be helpful beyond measure. You may still initially respond in your previous manner, though rather than following it down the usual rabbit hole you have choices. Sometimes that’s enough to stem the flow of momentum for a moment of clarity. Pairing knowledge with breathing is a really good approach.

Something like this:
1. Receive information / be in situation
2. Feel emotions shift
3. Pause for breath (you have to do that to live anyway, right?)
4. Consider why you are feeling this way
5. Knowing what you know about yourself, what’s the best choice of action in this moment?

For example, I know that generally speaking I am a securely attached person. However, in situations and circumstances where I am feeling particularly exposed or vulnerable I can become either anxious avoidant or anxious ambivalent. This can also happen if I’m run down or haven’t been looking after myself with sleep, exercise and fun.  If I catch it, I know that I have to use my tools or I’ll end up saying/doing/reacting in a manner that’s out of sync with who I am.  Then I’ll have to deal with that mess too. Ultimately, it’s a learning process built on self reflection and self awareness. Plus, having an understanding that those ‘in the moment’ emotions are fine, they don’t have to define the whole situation and subsequent outcome though.

If you think about a situation at work and at home, can you identify similar emotional loops? Do you ever wonder why this cyclic process is happening in your world and how the hell you can change it?

What I love to do
This brings me to what I love to do – assist others with having a life that is easier. Recognise and respond, rather than react.
Tools, understanding, insights, practical approaches – that’s my style. My flavour is bringing this into all aspects of life – mental, physical and emotional. You bring your life, your interests; I’ll bring the the space for discovery, with a touch of fun and a whole lotta joy.  What could be more joyful that opening yourself up to a new way of approaching life’s tricky situations?
Get in touch and lets chat.

Breathing is an interesting thing…

Today I was brought back to breath.

It’s always surprising to me that the most basic function of being alive is something that we actively restrict in a variety of ways.  We hold our breath when we’re scared, excited, nervous, our chest muscles get tight and short by way of our activities of daily living,  even the way we stand limits our capacity for breath.

When delivering presentations, I find people arrive looking to ‘fix what is wrong’ and I listen as they outline the struggles they face on a daily basis.  The context and content varies, the themes remain the same. Communication, resilience, and empathy.  These are the elements that always make their way to the forefront of conversation, no matter the topic.

You see, it all starts with one person and their ability to breathe.

If there is breath, there is the possibility of listening. If there is a possibility of listening, there is the chance of feeling heard. This is the foundation of what may be a good communication interaction.  Can you imagine feeling heard by every person you speak with today? How freeing that would be understood.

Try an experiment for me (after all, life is made up of lots of experiments.  Some are super successful, others teach us a LOT!).  Today, when someone speaks to you, take a breath, focus your attention on them and what they have to say.  You may or may not agree with the content, you may need to ask additional questions, it may take up a bit more time than you anticipated.  Focus on them and allow them to feel heard and understood by you. Before the conversation is finished, you can even ask them if they feel they need to add anything else or confirm they feel understood.

When the conversation is done, before you move onto the next action item in your day – take note of how that interaction went. Did the other party leave seeming satisfied/happier/more engaged? Or was there no change/they were the same/worse off? Would you change anything if you had a do-over? The whole point of an experiment is that you check in with the outcomes and reach a conclusion you can work from.

The key part to all of this is that you took a breath and ran the experiment in the first place.  Give it a try, the worst outcome is that nothing changes, thought your body will have more oxygen available to it!  The best is that you have a series of insightful interactions and gain a better understanding of the where the other person is at.  This leads to a more productive style of communication, more fulfilling for all parties regardless of if it’s at work or at home.

Give it a shot and let me know!